Tigers Search for Success in Passing; Groh Apologizes

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Woody Dantzler and his young troupe of wide receivers could get a significant test Saturday when Virginia comes calling.

The Cavaliers have allowed an average of 212.5 rushing yards (4.7 per carry) through two games, but have limited their early opponents - Wisconsin and Richmond - to just 321 passing yards (160.5) per game on 19-of-43 attempts with two interceptions.

Wisconsin was able to hit Al Groh's team with the deep ball twice for touchdowns, however, and Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden would like to see similar results from his offense.

"With what we run offensively the quarterback and receivers have to be pretty productive," Bowden said Wednesday. "Every defensive coordinator's philosophy, including his I'm sure, is to take away the run. Wisconsin had a hard time running the ball against them for the first three quarters, and we will too."

Meanwhile in Charlottesville, Groh found himself on the hot seat over a remark he made to reporters during Wednesday's Atlantic Coast Conference coaches' teleconference.

Asked if last week's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. had his team afraid to fly for Saturday's game at Clemson, Groh said:

"As far as the hijacking issue is concerned, and I am not making light of it by any means, but I'm not planning on having any Arabs in the traveling party. So therefore the threat of our being hijacked is fairly remote."

Later Wednesday, Groh and the Virginia administration issued apologies for the remarks.

"I am sorry if my remarks were insensitive," the coach said in a statement. "Like many American citizens, my emotions are near the surface after last week's tragedy, especially since 70 people in the town I lived in for four years, some of whom I know, are missing. I certainly did not mean to insinuate that millions of sensitive, God-fearing people of Arabic descent are terrorists.

"I hope we can all focus on the significant issues of recovery and the future of our country. That is done through unity and not divisiveness. That, and coaching my team, will be my focus."

Athletic Director Craig Littlepage issued the following statement:

"In the past week, there have been many calls for cooperation and coming together within our country. Here in Charlottesville and at the University we have mourned as one, bridging our diverse backgrounds and cultures. This is no time to inflame emotions.

"Unfortunately, Coach Groh's remark earlier today has had that unintended effect. The Athletics Department regrets any hurt the statement may have caused."


- Junior wide receiver Kevin Youngblood's recovery from a broken leg continues to progress. He is no longer using crutches, and Wednesday was standing in place catching balls thrown at him by the Jugs Machine.

Youngblood will have the leg evaluated Monday, a step which could determine if there's hope of his return to the active roster before the end of the season.

- Defensive tackle Nick Eason was named to the 2001 American Football Coaches Association Good Works team on Wednesday. The AFCA recognizes 11 Division I players every year for their community service involvement. Eason was the only ACC player named to the team.

Eason also had a root canal Wednesday and missed the first part of practice. He reported to the workout after the procedure, but did not take part in any activity because his prescribed pain medication had not arrived.

- Heightened security measures announced by the university for Saturday's game include restricted air space over the stadium, extra police officers and the possibility of bomb-sniffing dogs.

No large bags or bookbags will be allowed inside the stadium, while diaper bags and purses will be searched. School officials also said there would be no re-entry into the stadium for anyone who leaves early.

- Clearing up a mini-controversy of his own, Bowden said Wednesday his remarks that he was booed last Saturday at Daniel High School were "just a joke."

"I was standing out in front of everybody, and I didn't hear anything," he said.

TigerNet and Dan Scott apologize for the miscommunication.

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